Monday

Just wanted to share some of the pictures from this journey so far!

Well it's been a couple of weeks since I posted about my weight loss journey.  I feel like my focus is almost totally on that.  I find myself with lots of energy that makes me antsy and unable to sit still.  While it's a tad annoying it's also something that keeps me moving.  I've recently started doing the Zumba Gold dvd...I can make it through the first song...woohoo!

I'm not the best person at blogging...just like I'm not someone who writes in a diary.  I'll try to be better at posting my thoughts.

This isn't the easiest of journeys.  Don't ever believe anyone who says this is the easy way out.  It's definitely not.  There is so much involved.  I have to be very cognizant of what is in my food, of making sure every bite that goes into my body is a nutritional powerhouse.

Tuesday

So excited today!  It's 5 weeks from my Gastric Bypass surgery and I've reached my first short term goal!  I got on the scale this morning and it read 400.0 exactly.  When I left the hospital I weighed 468lbs on October 22, 2012.  I'm way ahead of where I thought I'd be...I thought it would be closer to Christmas til I got to this point.

I'm not struggling too much with the food I'm eating, except for forgetting to drink enough fluids and to take small enough bites.

Sunday


Chipmunks Christmas
  • Audio CD (October 9, 2012)

  • Recently, I received a bit of a Christmas treat in the mail.  I was sent a copy of the new Chipmunks Christmas CD.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I grew up listening to the Chipmunks albums and was really excited at the idea of being able to share them with you and also with my granddaughters!

I popped the CD in and got ready to enjoy...and I wasn't disappointed at all!  This CD is full of all of your favorite Christmas carols as well as a few new songs.  I think it's great that a whole new generation can enjoy the fun.  Can any of us forget the Chipmunk song or how we'd giggle hearing Alvin's name hollered in frustration?

Alvin and The Chipmunks, are here to make your yuletide bright with this fun, festive 18-track CD collection of some of their most popular holiday classics.  I absolutely loved this CD - it was fun, nostalgic, full of energy and Christmas spirit.  I know you'll enjoy this CD!  It's the perfect gift for kids and adults alike!

Here's a list of songs you'll find on the cd.

Alvin and The Chipmunks:  Chipmunks Christmas [CD, digital]
1.       Here Comes Santa Claus
2.       The Chipmunk Song
3.       Jingle Bells
4.       It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas
5.       Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
6.       Up On The House-Top
7.       Wonderful Day [digital release debut]
8.       Over The River and Through The Woods
9.       All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
10.   White Christmas
11.   The Twelve Days of Christmas
12.   Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
13.   Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
14.   Deck The Halls
15.   Frosty The Snowman
16.   Here Comes Christmas [digital release debut]
17.   Ho Ho Ho
18.    We Wish You A Merry Christmas



Official Sitewww.chipmunks.com

Buy Your Copy Here! http://amzn.to/Sn2yTo

I was sent a copy of this CD to review.  All opinions are my own and I was in no way influenced.

Monday

Review: Crossing Values by Carrie Daws

Crossing Values
by Carrie Daws

  • Perfect Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ambassador International (January 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935507923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935507925


Christian romantic fiction that focuses on emotional and family healing.
For years, Amber traipsed around the northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refused to let anyone get close to her.
As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, she takes a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she’s ever known.
Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. Feeling like she’s entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of fairytales, she watches for cracks in the fa├žade.
Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge.
Or could she be wrong? Could they truly be genuine?
Could Faye understand the trauma from her past or Peter think of her as more than just the winter office help? Could this family really hold the key to what she’s seeking?
About Carrie
Over the years, God rewrote Carrie’s dreams to include being a stay-at-home mom and a writer. Originally writing weekly devotions as a way to share what she learned with women from various military bases, Carrie decided to enroll in the Christian Writer’s Guild. While there, seeds were planted and cultivated.
After almost ten years in the military, Carrie’s husband medically retired and they now live in central North Carolina with their three children. Besides writing fiction novels, she stays busy with homeschooling, working part time, and volunteering within two military ministries.
More than anything, Carrie strives to write clean fiction, happily-ever-after stories that gently advocate Biblical values and truths. She says, “I didn’t want to be embarrassed for my young daughter to pick up any of my books. I also didn’t want to be mortified if her life began to echo the activities of the lead character within my story. I believe the end result is books that not only provide some spiritual insight, but ones that reinforce accountability among unmarried men and women, healing from past hurts and families uniting in difficult circumstances.”

7 Day Devotional to go with the Book.
A Discussion Guide to go along with Crossing Values, also available freely on Carrie's site.


My Review
I really enjoyed this book! I wasn't sure what to expect when I was sent this wonderful little book.  Many times I've found Christian romances can be very simplistic and don't really hold my attention.  This book was just the opposite.  The characters were well developed and the story kept you turning the page to see what was going to happen next.
The book is a quick read at 160 pages - I was able to read it in an evening.  It's unashamedly Christian and is 'preachy' for those people who do not like that type of book.  While it's a Christian romance, it does focus on family healing as part of that story. There were many layers to the story, which kept my interest throughout. 
The characters in the book come to life as we watch Amber struggle with learning to trust both the Yager family, and also to learn to trust God.  It's wonderful to see this family as they draw Amber in and surround her with family and friends. I was left wanting at the end of the book to see more of the romance between Amanda and Peter.  
The book contains no foul language and no overt sexual overtones, just a very sweet romance.  This book would be appropriate for teenagers as well as adults.
 I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.





Wednesday

Book Review: Peaceful Passage by Kim West, PhD

Peaceful Passage
by: Kim West, PhD
New Heart Publishing (September 10, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0984052666
ISBN-13: 978-0984052660
When your loved one is dying at home you need emotional support and guidance, caregiving help and lessons, organization assistance, an expert adviser and a cherished friend. Peaceful Passage is all of this and more.
From first hearing the news to well beyond the funeral you will keep this resource close by you to give you answers at three in the morning, for encouragement every day and for detailed information on what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Here is guide for you to care well for yourself, your dying loved one, your family, marriage, career and in your spiritual life. 

This book is a labor of love from a professional counselor who cared for her own mother in her final days. One hospice described the book as, "An exceptional tool and resource for anyone assisting a loved one going through their final journey. A delightful, heartfelt, open discussion of processes, tips and things to ponder when traveling with them. Well done, and I applaud you. Thank you from all of us."
IN THE PAGES WITHIN, YOU'LL FIND PRACTICAL GUIDELINES FOR:
  • Determining first steps once you've heard the news
  • Charting a course with hospice as your partner
  • Dealing with your loved one's emotional roller-coaster
  • Navigating demands of marriage, family, children and career
  • Handling the daily, ongoing physical challenges and demands
  • Confronting common fears and unresolved emotional issues
  • Preparing for and experiencing the final days with dignity and purpose
  • Working through inner conflicts around faith and God
  • Managing the myriad post-passage details and arrangements
  • Finding closure, returning to routine and reflecting on the journey

Throughout Peaceful Passage, you'll find checklists and resources to keep you on track, and at each chapter's end, journaling pages invite readers to record their experiences.
Unlike other books that focus on one part of the process, Peaceful Passage is your essential, all-in-one guide to handling every aspect of this often heart-wrenching and heartwarming journey. Use it to help ease the burden of your loved one's final passage, while making it a peaceful - and, yes, even joyous - one.

Link to the Table of Contents

About The Author
Kim West holds a PhD in Clinical Pastoral Counseling and a M.Div. in Counseling and Family, but when her own mother became ill with terminal cancer she found that she had no hands-on knowledge of how to take care of her.
As a counselor she knew to journal her own experience to help her process her grief at losing her mother and she knew how to help her mother finish her life well and be prepared for the life to come. But the day-to-day of taking care of her mother as she died would require learning a whole new set of caring skills. And learn she did.
After completing her own journey with her mother she knew she had to help others who would travel this same path. Peaceful Passage is a merging of her years of counseling experience and the new skills she learned caring for her mother combined with her heart to help and to heal.
Connect with Kim on Facebook
Purchase Peaceful Passage  here.
Review:
As a former CNA for Hospice, I was very interested in reading this book.  So many times books like this are full of basic information.  I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of information included in this handy little book - from realizing that there is no cure for the person in question, to their eventual passing.  This is a passage that affects not only the patient, but the caregiver and family as well.

Even as someone who has done this over and over with patients, I found it to be extremely educational.

This isn't a 'feel good' type of book, instead it is practical and realistic as to what you and your loved one will be facing.  And yet at the same time it's an easy read and easily understandable. The author includes her very personal journey caring for her mother at the end of her life. There are many decisions that you and your loved one will need to make regarding their end of life treatment and care.  Kim West discusses these decisions and gives you ideas as to the options that you'll have.  She even includes workbook pages at the end, as well as journaling pages to document the choices you make.

This book is for everyone - caregiver and patient alike.  It will help anyone have a better understanding of the end of life process , both the physical and emotional aspects of it.  Peaceful Passage helps the entire family navigate the ups and downs of this emotional time, including after the loved one's passing.

I heartily recommend that everyone have a copy of this book on their shelves.  It's an invaluable resource to navigating this time in life.


Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Friday


I've decided to be completely up front about what I'm dealing with. I'm morbidly obese, I am HIV+, I have lyphedema, lipoedema, sleep apnea, somewhat high blood pressure and I'm borderline diabetic.

The picture at the left is me at my sons wedding in August of 2009.

A year and a half before this  I was at my highest weight which was 585.  I checked myself into a nursing home for some extreme physical therapy and nutrition support.  By the time I left the nursing home I'd lost almost 185 lbs.

Since the wedding, I've had a breast reduction and have lost about 50 lbs...the picture on the right is me now....please don't look at the goofy expression on my face! lol.

Me weight was 427.1 when I was at the surgeon's office for my pre-surgery appointment the other day. I'm not sure of my measurements, but will get those later.

As  you can see I've already come a long way in this journey... now is the next phase.  I'm trying to prepare for this surgery, but I'm not sure anyone really can.  I can figure out what I can and can't eat afterwards, but I know there are going to be some pretty big emotional hurdles to go through yet.  I'm amazed that by the time I turn 51 in March I could be down 100lbs....the is mind blowing to me.

If any of you have had this surgery...please let me know...

The Ongoing Journey

Wow it has been a while since I posted.  So much is happening in my life that I thought it was time to get back to this blog...to use it as a diary of sorts about the journey I've started...

For those that know me, they know that for the last couple of years I've been working on losing weight.  This road has been difficult and I've been tempted to throw in the towel more times than I can tell you.  During the process I've discovered a lot about myself, I've changed my entire way of eating and I've come to a stronger relationship with God.  

At this point I feel I've done what I can on my own...I'm struggling to keep going.  It's now time to take the next step - Bariatric surgery.  I've always avoided this, but feel like it's the right thing to do at this point.  I know a lot of people will think I'm taking the easy way out, but this isn't going to be easy.  It's going to be one heck of a fight.  

I'm hoping to blog as much as I can about preparing for the journey and the aftermath of surgery, as honestly and as completely as possible for two reasons:  as inspiration and information for anyone else setting forth on this path, and also so that I can look back and see how far I've actually come!

You'll also see a book blog or two along the way.  I've kind of strayed from this but am looking forward to doing it again.

Love you all!